Filmmaker set to release Minnesota wolf documentary

Director Julia Huffman and crew film scenes for "Medicine of the Wolf."

Director Julia Huffman and crew film scenes for “Medicine of the Wolf,” a new documentary featuring nature photographer Jim Brandenburg and the story of the Minnesota wolf.

Last winter, a California director filmed scenes for “Medicine of the Wolf,” a documentary on the Minnesota wolf featuring renowned wildlife photographer and writer Jim Brandenburg. Julia Huffman now seeks to finish her movie, adding some crucial interviews and perspective, and she’s almost halfway toward doing so on Kickstarter.

The political battle since the onset of wolf hunting in Minnesota has been interesting to observe. In many ways, the two points of view — for and against — seem almost entirely divorced from one another: one a land manager’s quest to control what some believe is just another wild animal, another a spiritual cause to protect one of nature’s most important arbiters of forest health and human relationship to the land.

This film clearly aims to make a case for the latter:

Medicine of the Wolf will take viewers on a journey to understand the powerful relationship that we have with the wolf by interviewing prominent people who represent the different levels of connection to this ancient and iconic species – from Anishinaabe creation stories that reflect our interconnectivity to all things, to a lifetime of observations of a complex and dynamic family unit, to a wolf scientist expressing his layered findings in an over 50 year study of the delicate web that wolves weave into our ecosystem.

I was struck by the comments Brandenburg made in the promotional trailer. Having moved out to the woods about nine years ago I’ve seen and heard wolves occasionally and it really is a full body and mind experience. Though I’ve got plenty of hunter friends who disagree with me, I can’t fathom why it’s necessary to hunt them — unless you have a very specific problem with livestock or a sick wolf.

“Medicine of the Wolf” needs to raise more money to cross the finish line, so if this is an issue that you care about or if you are curious how the film might turn out, go for it.

I read with interest that ice conditions are allowing wolves to cross from Minnesota onto Isle Royale, where a small but often beleaguered wolf population has lived for generations. A huge debate had been brewing as to whether people should somehow help the Isle Royale wolves, or even drop more wolves onto the island. The ice bridge now allows wolves to cross naturally, if they choose, though it is pointed out that wolf politics are far more dicey than human politics. The top killers of Isle Royale wolves are Isle Royale wolves.

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